Ona Coffee’s Hugh Kelly into WBC Semi Final

Australia’s Hugh Kelly has advanced into the Semi Finals of the 2016 World Barista Championship (WBC) in Dublin, Ireland.

Hugh competed on 22 June, finishing the first day of heats as the highest ranked competitor out of the other 31 baristas who competed on the day.

After the second day of heats with a further 31 presentations, the 12 top scoring baristas advancing to the next round were announced.

In order of ranking, they include Canada’s Ben Put on 508.5 points, France’s Charlotte Malaval on 501 points, Australia’s Hugh Kelly on 489.5 points, United State’s Lem Butler on 487 points, Taiwan’s Berg Wu on 483 points, Germany’s Erna Tosberg 482.5 points, United Kingdom’s Dan Fellows on 481 points, Japan’s Yoshikazu Iwase on 478 points, Ireland’s Natalia Piotrowska on 476.5 points, China’s Ying Hu on 473 points, Hong Kong’s Dawn Chan on 456.5 points, and The Netherland’s Lex Wenneker on 456.5 points.

These national champions will compete for one of the coveted six spots in the Finals round on Saturday 25 June.

Hugh will be the fourth competitor to perform in the Semi Finals round. He will compete at 10.54 am Dublin time – that’s 7.54pm Australia time.

For his presentation, Hugh presented the judges with a Castillo variety from producer Elkin Guzman’s El Mirador Farm in Colombia.

“I had had the chance to bring some of the most exotic and extraordinary coffees from around the world, but I chose Castillo because I wanted amazing coffee to be even more accessible to the customer,” Hugh told the judges.

“I believe that common varietals like Castillo can have so much more potential than we give them credit for.”

Instead of picking when red, Elkin picked the dark purple-coloured cherries with 25 per cent sugar content. They were pulped and left with the parchment on. He then put the coffee in a plastic bag, and put it into a freezer.

“This slows down fermentation to give more time at low temperature, bringing out these beautiful apricot notes from the sugar,” Hugh told the judges.

Hugh produced his espressos using “20 grams in and 38 grams out”. He then infused his espressos with 1 gram of freeze-dried peach, and 1 gram of coconut sugar.

Over three sips, he told the judges to expect “sparkling citric acidity, apricot and orange blossom” flavours.

For his milk-based course Hugh introduced the judges to a new processing method called natural process on the tree.

“Coffees dry and concentrate right there on the branch, while still getting nutrients from the roots system. The result is delicious raspberry marshmallows,” Hugh said.

Ona Coffee Head Roaster Sam Corra roasted the coffee one month from his competition date to give the coffee extra time for the gases to leave and highlight the coffee’s distinct flavours. He extended the roast profile of this coffee to 14 minutes with same drop temperature, development, and end degree as the espresso profile. “This extra time caramelises the sugars, giving a beautiful vanilla flavour through milk,” Hugh said.

He then used 115 grams of milk to balance and add creaminess to the drink.

For his signature drink, Hugh brought together elements from each course. He first chilled his espresso shots on ice to elevate acidity, and added freeze-dried fresh peach, coconut sugar, and 4 millimetres of freeze-concentrated blackcurrants. Hugh had cold-pressed the fresh juice and froze it completely solid. The result was high concentration sugar liquid – 40 per cent – which he says turned the raspberry marshmallow flavour into raspberry jam. To finish, he blended ice rocks for a creamy texture and added it to the drink. Then result was flavours of apricot, red currant and raspberry jam.

We wish Hugh the best of luck for his Semi Finals routine. To watch Hugh compete, watch Livestream.

To see his first round performance, see the video below.

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